fault lines

When we are in the kitchen and you bridge a new beginning, I watch myself fold inward and retreat. And you fade to careful silence as I try to say ‘continue,’ but I cannot find a way to make it breathe. And the silence quickly thickens as you fade and rise to leaving, and what you need to hear remains with me. And I hear my heart beat softly, a metronome of longing; I long to be the things I cannot be.

And when I try to trace the cadence of these car crash conversations, I am reminded of myself at the age of three: I am sitting at the piano with my father close beside me, I am watching as his fingers walk the keys. And when I catch the pattern and play it back toward him, he rewards me with a laugh that fills a need. Fast forward three years later, he’s not around that often, so I teach myself and pretend that he can see. I pretend to hear him laughing, that he claps along beside me, I smile and nod at absence to fill the need. A few years more of practice and his presence fades to distance, and absence finds its own velocity. And so I play to absence, I’ve got a taste for debt now, and sleep comes easy only when I grieve.

And I tell you I’ve got fault lines, carved out from years of pressure, electric fences lighted in ways only I can see. Like another set of veins embedded in my body, like train tracks settled by memories too dark to see. And how’s this for a beginning? I don’t know when the trains are coming, the tracks move themselves when I sleep. And so they are my fault lines, or this is how I see them: invisble, electric fences that set me free. But how can that happen? (This is what you ask me.) How can a fencing set you free? And I am left to tell you, in my softest voice I tell you, that the carnage is the thing that sets me free.

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